Last month the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) granted a marine licence to Associated British Ports (ABP) for the development of the Lowestoft Eastern Energy Facility (LEEF).
This followed a period of collaboration and joint working, beginning in November 2020, when ABP applied to the MMO to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for reconstruction of the existing quay in the Outer Harbour at the Port of Lowestoft. The proposed works also required a capital dredge of the approach channels and a maintenance dredge and disposal programme to be put in place once construction was completed.
Joint meetings were organised to ensure MMO and East Suffolk Council Local Planning Authority (LPA), could work collaboratively and adopt principles under the Coastal Concordat. A joint consultation was then launched to coordinate responses from stakeholders. Both MMO and LPA shared information on associated impacts to produce scoping opinions under individual legislation.
The joint working continued when the EIA Marine Licence Application (MLA) followed, with MMO again working with the LPA for a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA). This included consulting and advertising together to reduce the regulatory burden on the applicant and consultees. The consent decision and marine licence was then issued and ABP is now able to proceed with the works, while complying with the licence conditions.
Adam Chumbley, MMO Marine Licensing Manager said:
We aim to provide a friendly and supportive service to all marine licence applicants and this case is a good example of how positive outcomes can be achieved by working together.
Our role in licensing marine development is to provide solutions that protect the sea and deliver environmental, economic and societal benefits. Enabling sustainable marine activities and development actively supports the government’s ambitions in its 25 Year Environment Plan and supports economic growth for the UK economy.
Sophie Young, Environmental Lead, Associated British Ports said:
At ABP, we’re proud our LEEF development will support the increased production of more renewable, clean energy and bring hundreds of new jobs, investment and interest to the region.
The collaboration between ABP, the MMO and East Suffolk Council has been exemplary, and has allowed us to deliver against the needs of multiple stakeholders in an efficient and coordinated way.